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Smoothie King launches ‘clean blending’ platform Ron Ruggless

Smoothie King launches ‘clean blending’ platform

From new DFW headquarters, brand tests initiative at 76 units

Smoothie King Franchises Inc. over the past week has launched a 76-unit test of its new “cleaner blending” platform that removes added sugars and artificial ingredients, the brand owner says.

“I think Smoothie King should lead the way to change the industry,” said Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King, in an interview at the company’s new headquarters in Irving, Texas, where it recently moved from Metairie, La. “We should feel the responsibility to change it.”

The Clean Blending initiative was announced earlier this fall.

Smoothie King has also re-organized its menu boards into a quartet of categories to better accommodate the new platform of no added sugars and no artificial colors, flavors or other ingredients.

“We have four categories on our menu board: Fitness, Slim, Wellness [and the snack offerings of] Take a Break,” Kim explained. “Our menu board is not driven by the flavor. Before I bought the company, it was driven by flavor: strawberry, blueberry, cherry. Now it’s driven by the four categories or purposes. We’re selling the purposes.”

Ron Ruggless

Kim, who closed on his purchase of the company in July 2012, said the approach returns to Smoothie King to its roots as founded in 1973 by Steve Kuhnau in the New Orleans, La., area. Kim started as the master Smoothie King franchisee for South Korea in 2003 and bought the brand after growing the franchise in his home country to 110 stores by 2010.

“Smoothies started as a better, healthier alternative, but over time they changed,” said Kim, the father of three. “It’s in the DNA of the brand, and it’s important. And I believe I want to sell something our kids can have every day.”

The company has also made sure its ingredients are gluten-free as well as contain no genetically modified ingredients.

“We believe everybody wants to live a healthier lifestyle, but that means different things to different people,” Kim said. “We don’t define what ‘health’ means for you.”

That healthful approach has been a selling point of new products introduced by the company this year.

Earlier this month, Smoothie King partnered with Premama, a leader in prenatal vitamins, to create an exclusive prenatal smoothie.

The Premama Smoothie contains bananas, wild blueberries, raspberries, organic spinach, apple juice, a protein blend and Premama Prenatal Multivitamin, and can be sweetened with stevia plant-based sweetener.

And in April, Smoothie King collaborated with the American Cancer Society to create the Daily Warrior, a high-calorie smoothie designed to help people who face challenges meeting their daily caloric and nutritional needs.

Smoothie King now has 967 units with about 845 in the United States. Of those, 29 are company-owned.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless 

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